Cheam embarks on a 21st Century model for Headship: Co-Heads

September 2024 will mark an exciting new era for Cheam when Sophie Green will join Will Phelps as Co-Head of this prestigious and progressive school in Headley, Berkshire. Sophie, formerly Headmistress of Godstowe and Tatler Prep Head of the Year, brings with her a wealth of school leadership experience, making their collective number of years in headship 25. Sophie will be the first female Head at Cheam in its 379 year history.

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There are very few schools with Co-Heads in the sector. What is unique at Cheam is that Will and Sophie are married and Co-Heads, making it not only a family school, but one led by a highly experienced and skilled duo.

Cheam recognises the emerging and dynamic social and educational landscape and is committed to developing kind, curious and self-confident children, inspired by a talented staff team. Sophie and Will’s vision for Cheam is to continue in its place at the forefront of Prep School education, as a thriving 21st century community. The Board of Governors sees that a combined strength of dual leadership brings security, resilience and endless possibilities. As many in the world of educational leadership will testify, the role of Head has changed significantly in the last decade, becoming ever more complex and business-oriented. These days, as well as leading the Teaching and Learning aspects of their schools, Heads are required to be visionaries, strategists, public speakers, HR experts, accountants, counsellors, fluent in wellbeing, logistical planners and so much more. Indeed, there are many hats to wear and Co-Headship provides a framework to satisfy all the needs within a school community.

For Cheam, this Co-Head partnership will provide both girls and boys with role models at the highest level and reflects the qualities of equality, diversity and inclusion which the modern world embraces. Chair of Governors, Mark Harford, commented, “I can say that the Board is both resolute and excited that this is the very best next step for Cheam’s leadership. We believe Co-Headship will take best advantage of our School’s good fortune in having not one but two experienced leaders in Will and Sophie, with their different and complementary styles and skills; it will represent a boldly progressive approach to meeting the ever more complex challenges of school headship; and it will serve daily as a living model of equal partnership to all Cheam’s pupils, girls and boys alike.”

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